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The Russian defence ministry has sensationally claimed that Royal Navy saboteurs were responsible for the destruction of the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month, describing it as a “terrorist attack”.
“According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on 26 September this year – blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines,” the ministry said.
The Russians have provided no evidence to back up their claims.
READ MORE: Nord Stream 2 pipeline supplying gas from Russia has pressure collapse after 'attack'
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson told the Daily Star: "To detract from their disastrous handling of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defence is resorting to peddling false claims of an epic scale This invented story, says more about arguments going on inside the Russian Government than it does about the west"
In a separate statement the MoD said: "We constantly observe our areas of UK responsibility and interest.
"This includes protecting critical infrastructure such as underwater cables.”
Russia had previously blamed the US for the damage.
Following the explosion, NATO allies have ramped up their presence in the Baltic and North Seas, increasing security around key infrastructure like satellites, ships, subs, maritime patrol aircraft and anti-drone systems.
German, Danish and Swedish authorities are currently investigating the September 26 incident which saw at least 50 metres of the underwater pipeline destroyed.
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While Western leaders have not directly accused Russia of being behind the attack, France's Energy Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said: "Very clearly Russia is using gas as a weapon of war and we must prepare for the worst case scenario of a complete interruption of supplies”.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied allegations of Russian responsibility for the damage, saying such claims were ”stupid”. Russian officials have said Washington had a motive as it wants to sell more gas to Europe.
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Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, said after the destruction of the pipeline: "Just before the invasion [of Ukraine], about 65% of the Russian total gas exports went to Europe and 55% of the Russian oil export went to Europe.
"Europe was by far the largest market, the largest client for Russia, and Russia lost this client forever. The biggest client."
At the start of this month, a Royal Navy frigate was deployed to the North Sea following suspected 'sabotage'.
The MoD is said to be hoping to reassure partners by working with the Norwegian navy after the damage to the NordStream pipelines off Denmark.
The Daily Star has contacted the MoD for comment.
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